In neuroscience, homeostatic plasticity refers to the capacity of neurons to regulate their own excitability relative to network activity, a compensatory adjustment that occurs over the timescale of days. Synaptic scaling has been proposed as a potential mechanism of homeostatic plasticity.
Homeostatic plasticity is thought to balance Hebbian plasticity by modulating the activity of the synapse or the properties of ion channels. Homeostatic plasticity in neocortical circuits has been studied in depth by Gina G. Turrigiano and Sacha Nelson of Brandeis University, who first observed compensatory changes in excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) after chronic activity manipulations.
Homeostatic plasticity can be used to term a process that maintains the stability of neuronal functions through a coordinated plasticity among subcellular compartments, such as the synapses versus the neurons and the cell bodies versus the axons.
The term homeostatic plasticity derives from two opposing concepts: 'homeostatic' (a product of the Greek words for 'same' and 'state' or 'condition') and plasticity (or 'change'), thus homeostatic plasticity means "staying the same through change."
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